CIVIL WAR OP-ED: Saint Patrick’s Day Tribute to General Patrick Cleburne—The Fighting Irishman
BY CALVIN E. JOHNSON JR – FOR THE HUFFINGTON POST
Hello America; the land of good, Patriot and kind people,
It has been my pleasure to write many articles pertaining to the America’s past and the Old South land loving called ‘Dixie’ for your reading enjoyment for over 10 years. Thank you to the editors of newspapers and on-line folks who have been so kind to publish my letters.
One month ago I was admitted into the hospital and diagnosed with Lymphoma Cancer. Today, through the good doctors and nurses with God and Jesus and family beside me, I am doing much better, doing therapy that will lead me back to good health and ready to write many more articles like the following as long as you the reader enjoy reading them. Remember, people of all races can be proud of their Christian, Southern, Confederate and American Heritage. God bless you, my American family and God bless people of all people who are or wish they were free.
And, now for a good Irish-American story!
Jefferson Davis President of the Confederacy was of Welsh and his Mother Jane Cook of Scotch-Irish descent.
A lot has been written about the 150,000 Irishmen who fought for the Union during the War Between the States but do you know about the 30,000 equally brave Irishmen who fought for the Confederacy? It is written that by population a comparable number of Irishmen fought for the Confederacy as did those who supported the Union.
The 8th Alabama Irish Brigade made their mark in history fighting for the Confederacy and is remembered for their Erin Go Braugh! flag with a field of green with Faugh A Ballagh on bottom that is Irish for “clear the way.”
Tuesday, March 17, 2015 is Saint Patrick’s Day and it’s also the 187th birthday of Patrick Ronayne Cleburne.
Among the Union Armies fighting Irish was the 69th New York but….
Did you know the Confederacy’s units included the 10th Louisiana and the 10th Tennessee Infantry which was formed at Fort Henry in 1861 and defended Fort Donelson before becoming part of the Army of Tennessee?
Who was Patrick R. Cleburne?
Patrick Ronayne Cleburne was born on March 17, 1828, in Ovens, County Cork, Ireland. He was an Anglo-Irish soldier who served in the 41st Regiment of Foot of the British Army. He is however best known for his service to the Confederates States of America.
He was only eighteen months old when his Mother died and a young fifteen when his Father passed away. He tried to follow in his Father’s footsteps, Dr. Joseph Cleburne, in the field of medicine but failed his entrance exam to Trinity College of Medicine in 1848. He immigrated to America three years later with two brothers and a sister and made his home in Helena, Arkansas.
In 1860 Cleburne became a naturalized citizen, lawyer and was popular with the residents.
He sided with the Confederacy at the outbreak of the War Between the States and progressed from the rank of private of the local militia to major general.
Cleburne, like many Southerners, did not support the institution of slavery but chose to serve his adopted country out of love for the Southern people and their quest for independence and freedom. In 1864, he advocated the emancipation of Black men to serve in the Confederate Armed Forces.
Cleburne participated in the Battles of Shiloh, Richmond, Perryville, Stones River, Chickamauga, Missionary Ridge, Ringgold Gap and Franklin. He was killed at the Battle of Franklin, Tennessee on November 30, 1864.
General Patrick R. Cleburne said before his death:
“If this cause, that is dear to my heart, is doomed to fail, I pray heaven may let me fall with it, while my face is toward the enemy and my arm battling for that which I know is right.”
Cleburne was engaged to Susan Tarleton of Mobile, Alabama.
On March 17, 1979, Cleburne’s birthday, I proudly organized the Gen. Patrick R. Cleburne Camp 1361 of the Sons of Confederate Veterans in Jonesboro, Georgia which is still active.
General Cleburne is buried in Maple Hill Cemetery in Helena, Arkansas.
A good book: “A Meteor Shining Brightly” Essays on Maj. Gen. Patrick R. Cleburne” –edited by Mauriel Phillips Joslyn, is a good source of information about Cleburne.
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